Two decades have passed since a relative unknown arrived at Highbury to oversee an unprecedented revolution in English Football, yet, the unbreakable bond between him and Arsenal has managed to excel the test of times and get even stronger. Makes you think, doesn’t it? Arsene Wenger has been at Arsenal for such a long period of time that it’s almost impossible to imagine what and how will the Gunners do what they must when the Frenchman finally calls it a day.
As rumours concerning Wenger’s contract and Eddie Howe being his potential replacement continue to do the rounds, it seems the time has finally come for Arsenal’s board of directors to think about life after Arsene, or to stop worrying about it at all (for the time) by extending their long-serving doyen’s contract. Whether or not that happens is another issue, but what’s more important here is to ask what lies in the club’s best interests: Arsene Wenger staying put or someone else coming in to mark the beginning of a new era.
Judging by the current situation at The Emirates Stadium and other clubs, one would say that it’s Wenger staying where he is that will serve Arsenal better than any of the options they might have assessed so far. Problem here isn’t the shortage of replacements, it’s the shortage of “ideal” replacements that is. Pep Guardiola appears set for a long tenure at Manchester City, so does Jurgen Klopp and other proven candidates like Diego Simeone, Carlo Ancelotti, Ronald Koeman or anyone else of that stature.
Of course, the prospect of someone like Eddie Howe managing Arsenal is appealing but the idea in itself isn’t convincing enough because the Bournemouth manager is still in his early days and switching to a top European club could prove as fatal for him as it could for the club, which is why it’s vital that the management gets it absolutely right whenever the time to appoint someone else comes. However, that time mustn’t be 2018.
Look at what has happened at a club as successful as Manchester United after Alex Ferguson’s retirement. Even with Jose Mourinho at the helm, they don’t look like the side they used to be and are highly uncertain about what lies ahead. The same could happen at Arsenal too with just one wrong step. Mind, that one step is enough to kick-start the managerial merry go-round which is something that the North Londoners won’t want to happen after all the years that Arsene Wenger has spent injecting stability into the blood of the club.
Other issues apart, Arsenal shouldn’t be too bothered by Arsene Wenger’s on-field doings either (if bothered at all). It’s taken a long-long time but finally, the Gunners look like a proper title-challenging side having strengthened exactly where they needed to. The squad has steel – a trait we have never associated with Arsenal – desire, depth and the quality needed to go all the way as they have shown so far with a number of impressive performances.
With everything going as smoothly as it is at the moment, there doesn’t seem any sort of an urgency at The Emirates for a managerial change, not especially when it is Arsene Wenger who is to be replaced. The right way would be to extend his contract and wait for a couple of years when The Arsenal can find its “perfect” man, someone who can fill the huge gap that the Le Professeur would leave behind.